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You Cannot Force People To Change If They Are Not Ready To Do So


Admit it. There are a lot of aspects of your life that you wish you could change. Let’s not kid ourselves, we all do. Some think their friends are not as emotional as they are and would do anything for them to be more open. Some would love to have more romantic and caring partners. Some would love their parents to be more understanding of their dreams and less judgmental of their choices…

The list is never-ending.

We always catch ourselves saying “Oh how I wish they would…”, but in the end, we end up accepting the things that bother us because the truth is, we have too much love for these people not to. Whether it’s their irresponsibility, their weakness, their tough character, their mistakes, their immaturity, we accept it. Yet, deep down, we hope that they can change.

Deep down, we think we know what is wrong with them. We somehow think we know what is happening inside their heads. And so, we convince ourselves that if they could just stop doing the things that we think are wrong for them, they would become better people. They would be reborn again. We believe in their potential and we believe that we are strong enough to help them. Help them get out of their cage, help them improve, help them open their eyes, help them change…

But it is exactly when they refuse to do so that realize the truth…

We cannot change people.

We can give them a piece of friendly advice. We can offer our help. We can let them know how we feel about certain things. We can give our opinion about things, but in the end, they are the only ones who decide whether they’ll accept our help. That is the harsh truth that all of us must accept.

We don’t get to decide what’s right for others. Heck, sometimes we don’t even what’s right for us So how would we even know what others need? The truth is, we don’t get to decide which path they choose in life. It’s as simple as that. We just don’t have the right to define their life. That is something that is out of our control.

So, you can scream, shout, cry, yell at them, be mad at them, leave them even, but that still won’t make them change if they are not ready to change. Maybe it will make them think. Maybe it will make them ask themselves the questions that they’ve been burying for years. But even then, they might not want to change. You know why?

Because it all comes down to how they feel. If they don’t see a problem in their attitude that is a sign that they are comfortable with who they are. A sign that they don’t need to change… Not until they feel it is finally time to do so.

So, stop trying to change people. I know it’s hard to accept and understand, but you have to. It is both for your own good and the good of others. If you are bothered by someone’s behavior, let them know, but don’t pressure them into being something they are not. Offer your help and support and be patient with them. If you still feel that you can be there for them and accept them the way they are, let them know. But if you can’t, let them go. It’s painful and unfair, I know. But here’s the thing. Change comes only from within.

You can express how you feel, you can let someone know what your opinions are, but ultimately you cannot force them to accept that. You cannot force change on other people.

People will always be who they are. And they will always choose their own path.

Stephanie Reeds